Are the colleges in Colorado special?

You bet! And each in its own, individual way.

From breathtaking views to recreational opportunities, to a wide array of programs and classes, there is literally something for everyone. So, whether the key to your own personal college success is distance education, a state-of-the-art research facility, scholarship opportunities, great professors, or simply the chance to add an online course to your schedule, the school you’re looking for is out there.

To help you start your search, here is a brief overview of the programs, classes and, yes, specialties, that some of Colorado’s finest schools offer. If you read through them carefully, you will find the school that’s the best fit for you and your personal career goals.

To help you start your search, here is a brief overview of the programs, classes and, yes, specialties, that some of Colorado’s finest schools offer. ”

  • The University of Colorado, Boulder  – CU Boulder is nestled in the heart of Boulder, Colorado, and surrounded by sweeping vistas of the Flatiron Mountains. Its slogan? “Be Boulder!” And why shouldn’t the school brag? It’s one of our nation’s top research universities, boasting “world class research personnel and capabilities.” Better still, the school has over 2,000 undergrad students directly involved in hands-on research. Research at the school involves a wide array of “scholarly, scientific and creative endeavors,” including research into the economy, our culture, health and even space. Students at CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics have designed and launched scientific instruments to “every planet in the solar system,” most recently a surface composition spectrometer that was sent to Mercury. How cool is that?
  • The University of Colorado, Denver – CU Denver has more than 140-degree programs offered across 13 different schools and colleges. It has awarded more graduate degrees than any other public university in the state, accounting for more than a quarter of all the degrees earned in Colorado. Its most popular undergraduate programs include music, economics, biology, psychology and pre-engineering. CU Denver also offers 450 online courses and more than 20-degree programs, allowing students flexibility in how and where they take their classes. Its online courses are fully accredited and are even taught by the same professors who teach its regular courses. The school’s online masters in criminal justice program is considered one of the best in the country, ranking 12th nationwide in a recent survey conducted by U.S. News and World Report. The school’s online graduate education program came in at 36th in the same survey. In a pool of 1,200 programs – that’s how many programs were considered – that’s pretty impressive.
  • The Anschutz Medical Campus – This school is actually a branch of the University of Colorado, Denver. Located in nearby Aurora, it offers state-of-the-art medical education and research through its School of Dental Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Medicine, College of Nursing, and Colorado School of Public Health. The Anschutz Medical Campus has earned more than $5.6 billion in financing as a result of its researcher’s inventions and has launched 114 new companies. The school is also proud to partner with the two nationally renowned hospitals located on the medical campus. The University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Colorado provide state-of–the-art care for patients, and world-class training for doctors, as well.
  • The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs  – UCCS was created by legislative order in 1861. That makes the school older than the state itself! The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, offers a wide range of degrees and programs in the fields of nursing and health science, business administration, education, engineering, applied science and public affairs. It also offers a robust online program. Students who have already completed 40 – 60 qualifying credits can continue their undergraduate or graduate programs as online degrees. Graduate certificates that can “enhance your existing degree” are also available online. Online areas of study include business, criminal justice, healthcare sciences, sociology, nursing and engineering.
  • Colorado State University – Colorado State University, located in Fort Collins, is a public research university. It is the state of Colorado’s first land-grant college, which makes it the “flagship” of Colorado’s university system. True to its land-grant roots, brags the school, it is “focused on practical solutions for today and tomorrow.” CSU offers degrees in the arts, humanities, and design; environmental and natural resources; health, life and food sciences; global and social sciences; land, plant and animal sciences; organization, management and enterprise; as well as the physical sciences and engineering. That is a wide array of choices covering almost every aspect of human endeavor. What else makes CSU special? Its locale, or, as its website states: “There’s something special about Fort Collins!” Since it’s just an hour outside of Denver, big city life is always within easy reach. Deep in the heart of the beautiful Colorado Front Range, Fort Collins also has all the charm of a small mountain town, including easy access to some of the best mountain recreation opportunities in the nation.
  • University of Denver  – The University of Denver, founded in 1864, is the state’s oldest private university. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountain region, it offers “innovative and rigorous” programs for undergraduates, graduates, and professional development. DU’s areas of specialization? Art, business, education, computer science, engineering, mathematics, music, and theater, to name a few. In partnership with the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association, the University of Denver also has a program for adult students with Down syndrome. These students come to the campus and study everything from cooking and art to nutrition and wellness, while learning vital socialization and independent living skills, as well.
  • University of Northern Colorado – Located in Greeley, Colorado, UNC offers “top quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs.” The school is not only proud of its “amazing academic programs,” but also of the talented and innovative professors at the school who bring research straight to UNC students both in the classroom and in the field. This unique combination of research and teaching stretches across all of its 200 programs for both graduates and undergraduates. The programs include classes that are taught on campus, off campus and even online. UNC is also proud of its size. It’s big enough to have an expert faculty, but small enough to support hands-on learning and the school’s “tradition of research.” Its programs are supported by several schools, including the College of Education and Behavioral sciences; the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Monfort College of Business; the College of Natural and Health Sciences; the College of Performing and Visual Arts; and University College. Through UNC’s “Extended Campus” program, the school also offers students access to more than 50 continuing education opportunities either online or face-to-face at locations in Loveland, Colorado Springs, and Denver.
  • Regis University – Formerly known as Regis College, RU offers graduate and undergraduate programs “within a Jesuit university community.” It offers its students a “rigorous curriculum” designed to help them reach their career goals while also challenging them to reflect on the more important issues facing the human race: morality, tradition, and change. Regis offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in liberal arts, computers, education, information sciences, health care and business. It also offers a variety of other programs to “broaden and enrich” the collegiate experience of its students. These include service projects, summer sessions, honors programs, internships and the opportunity to study abroad.
  •  Metropolitan State University of Denver – Metro State is located in the busy heart of Denver. Nearby attractions include the Buell Theatre, the Colorado Convention Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. MSU offers its student population 244-degree options, encompassing a wide range of majors, minors, masters, concentrations, and licensures. The school is comprised of five colleges: the College of Business; the College of Letters, the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Professional Studies; and the School of Education.

Other options

When planning your higher education, don’t overlook Colorado’s fine community colleges. They can be a great place to start you college career, especially if you’re not quite sure what you want to study, or if you’re looking for a lower cost alternative to paying tuition at a four-year school. Plus, if you already live near a community college, you can save on living and travel costs, as well.

  • Pikes Peak Community College – PPCC is located in Colorado Springs and is the largest institute of higher learning in the region, with a student body of nearly 20,000. Its programs and courses, covering more than 200 subject areas, include accounting, health, cultural studies, art history and engineering. PPCC also has special programs designed with the educational needs of military members and veterans in mind.
  • Front Range Community College – FRCC is a two-year community college with campuses in Westminster, Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins and Brighton. It also offers online coursework. Besides academic programs in areas as diverse as chemistry, criminal justice, and emergency medical services, it also offers GED testing, corporate training, and continuing education classes.
  • Community College of Denver – Located in beautiful downtown Denver, CCD describes itself as a “student-centered” school dedicated to the goal of “providing an exceptional education.” It offers small classes, flexible schedules, award-winning professors and affordable tuition. What more could you ask for? Oh, right. Online and hybrid classes through CCD’s Desire2Learn program. Cool.


Kate C helps write for the CU Online blog. When not writing about college in Colorado, she writes about various topics from her home in the beautiful high Nevada desert. And she shares her home with her husband of 27 years and a fat, sassy Boston terrier named Tess.